If actual school was as fun as Pie School, no one would ever play hooky. Kate Lebo has written a wonderful book celebrating the craft of baking fruit pies. Pie School is equal parts sassy and poetic, as sweet as a perfectly ripe peach with just the right balance of acerbic wit.
—Becky Selengut, author of Good Fish
Kate Lebo is the teacher we all wanted in school, her kitchen a classroom for lessons in life. Sure, there's plenty of instruction here on the tasty metaphysics of fruit, flour, and butter. But good pie is so much more—it's imagination and art and love. Hooray for Kate Lebo and Pie School.
—Langdon Cook, author of The Mushroom Hunters
Everyone should have a baker in their life—they are the sorts of friends worth cultivating. Treat your baker right (or encourage one into action) with a copy of Pie School, local author Kate Lebo's ode to all things flaky and sweet. The book promises "Lessons in Fruit, Flour & Butter" and it does not disappoint. Pie can be intimidating, but Lebo demystifies and charms in this beautifully designed volume. It's the sort of school we would all be eager to attend.
Pie School: Lessons in Fruit, Flour & Butter brings the lessons from [Kate Lebo's] baking classes to print with the same flair, wit, and enthusiasm in a book as rewarding to bake from as it is to read.
[Kate Lebo's] no-nonsense approaching to teaching, her poetic language, and swoon-worthy fillings make this a delightful and delicious read.
In Kate Lebo, you have a passionate, knowledgeable, unintimidating teacher who advocates intuition, interpretation, imagination and relaxation while making pie. Her friendly, encouraging voice speaks to nervous novices as well as experienced bakers looking for a fresh fix.
—Jama’s Alphabet Soup
There are certainly bigger books on pie, but Lebo’s attention to detail and lighthearted delivery make this one a pleasure.
—The Seattle Times
This recipe book reaffirms a dedication to craft, brevity, and economy in both recipe and writing as a deeply connected physical and loving physical labor. The best recipes themselves are a work of art. This reviewer knows the power of such a book, where her own mother has already copied some of these recipes, and friends have begun to eye up this reviewer’s copy of Pie School, thinking of what pies they, too, can recreate or invent anew.
—The Los Angeles Review
In her new book filled with recipes for perfect crust, fifty different pies, and ruminations on the art, science, and significance of pie making, [Kate Lebo] opens her “Pie School” to everyone just in time for the holidays, inviting bakers everywhere to use their senses to turn pie into much more than just a dessert.
—University Book Store
If you’re intimidated by baking, Kate will hold your hand and walk you through the process. Pie School’s recipes are classics with modern twists and the writing will engage you and keep you wanting to learn more. This is a great book for any any cookbook collection.
—The Hungry Traveler
Abbreviating her in-person, face-to-face pie-making course for the benefit of us all, Lebo is all about the how-tos of the handmade—no food processors, no other kitchen machines, and certainly no store-bought prepackaged ingredients. The writing itself is almost enough to seduce. Who can resist, "You’ll know the filling is just right when you don’t want to stop eating it" and "Nectarines are peaches with a recessive gene for baldness?" Her book is packed with common sense as well as handy tidbits, many explained and photographed in step-by-step fashion at the front of the book, ranging from how to make a piecrust by hand to how to make "assembly-line" baked goods. Once satisfied that she has taught the basics, Lebo regales with around 40 specific pie choices, imparting lots of advice geared to each pie. For example, she uses leaf lard, a purer fat that pads a pig’s kidneys, for her apple pie. And demerara sugar is the preferred topping. A few of her other tempting selections include blue goose pie, mumbleberry (mixed berry) pie, and raspberry chiffon pie with chocolate cookie crust.
"Everything you need for cherry pie."
—South Sound Magazine
Fresh out of an MFA program at the University of Washington, writer and baker Lebo founded Pie School, a small business offering pie-making courses in Seattle and other locations. The author's new cookbook incorporates essential information from such classics as Rose Levy Beranbaum's The Pie and Pastry Bible and Ken Haedrich's Pie and teaches readers skills they'll need to make a pie without a recipe, using whatever pans, crusts, fillings, sweeteners, and thickeners they have on hand. Lebo favors fruit pies (e.g., maple blueberry, three pear and gouda, gluten-free blackberry and honeyed mascarpone), advocates a food processor-free approach, reflects on pie symbolism and metaphor, and expresses strong opinions about small details (e.g., whipped cream should always be served on the side, never on top). VERDICT An informed and rather romantic take on the art of the handmade pie.